Living Lab in Italy for early-school and elementary school classes
General concept of the Living Lab
From March to May 2023, APRE organized two Living Labs with the “Istituto Comprensivo Guicciardini” school in Rome to co-create new educational approaches and accompany the new generation in the transition towards a circular and sustainable bioeconomy. An early school class (age 8-9 yo) and an elementary school class (age 11-12 yo) were involved. Students were highly engaged and proactive in all phases of the activities especially those which required autonomous decision-making (i.e. rules making, division in groups, roles of each group for producing the materials etc.).
The Activities concluded with the presentation and dissemination of the results of the living lab (final prototype of the game) to the school community in the open school event (“Sustainability Day”).
Objectives of Living Labs in schools:
- Co-create with students new formats for communicating the opportunities from the bioeconomy and the ecological and circular transition
- Develop new ideas for sustainability and reduction of the environmental impact by methods creative, fun and non-formal methods
- Children as experts e ambassadors of change and of promotion of these issues towards families and society.
The Living Lab foresaw four phases with the engagement of teachers, students, parents, and GenB’s support staff, in the ways and at the times described below. Between the Workshop phases, APRE maintained constant communication and gave clear instructions to teachers prior to each workshop. The students received homework to review and deepen concepts for the next appointment. Parents were engaged in home activities.
Co-Creation Workshop: the first workshop began with a recap and brainstorming on the bioeconomy concepts, lifestyles and sectors. Responding different questions, the students understood the bioeconomy approach and its implications in daily life. APRE staff and the class discussed answers collectively. Then the students analysed the first ideas on the educational material to produce in order to educate on the bioeconomy. APRE asked students to divide into groups and think about a type of educational instrument/material they would have liked to produce to teach also other students about the bioeconomy.
The groups’ ideas were presented to the class that expressed their preferences through a voting mechanism.
Exploration Workshop: in the second Workshop, the classroom worked on the development of new educational product ideas based on the proposals developed during the Co-creation Workshop. To realize the prototype, the class was divided into four groups and the students were assigned roles (i.e.
Communication & design Team, Crafting materials Team and Game rules and writing Team). This phase saw the use of innovative formats: flipped classroom, inquiry-based learning, hands-on learning (production of game materials).
Experimentation Workshop: The class was divided into four groups to test and evaluate the final prototype. In particular, 1 prototype of the game was given to each group, each group had to play the game and see what worked and what did not work. APRE staff continuously supported students explaining the rules and the development, where necessary. In each section of the game, the functioning of the cards, activities and boxes was assessed and feedback or other suggestions for improvement were collected Evaluation Workshop: in this final workshop, the results of the living lab (final prototype of the game) was presented and disseminated in an open school event (“Sustainability Day”), where parents, external bodies, institutions, were invited. The aim was to show the final output also to other students and classes, and to continue evaluate the contents and collect feedback from parents and other multipliers.
Students hence take on the role of "experts" for parents, citizens and teachers themselves. Between September and December 2023, APRE will carry on implementation and valorisation activities to improve and ensure the prototype sustainability after the project life.
The living labs need to be tailored to the needs, preferences and tastes of the students. In fact, all outcomes reflected the inputs coming from students both in terms of design and in terms of content creation.
The final prototype of the game aims to teach the bioeconomy to other students. It is a board game for children aged 8/13 years old. The students can play with other peers or with adults (parents, teachers etc.).
The objective of the game is to transform a biomass into a new bio-based product. The collection of ideas and pilot projects (co-creation and exploration phases) were successful. Students demonstrated wide creativity in thinking, suggesting ideas and the different aspects of the educational game to be produced as well as content creation. Teachers demonstrated awareness and interest on the topic of the bioeconomy and interest in being themselves “promoters” and key actors (ambassadors) of the bioeconomy, hence the objective of raising awareness for other multipliers was achieved.
The Living Labs in numbers
Number of Living Labs organised (total): 4
Number of activities and experiments implemented (total): 7 Workshops
Number of students reached (total): 81